Saturday, 27 February 2016

More tennis unpredictability

Normality in the tennis world is yet to return - in Dubai Djokovic lost the first set to Lopez, serve broken twice, before retiring with an eye infection. A run of 17 tournaments making the final is now dashed.

In Doha the 41 match winning streak of doubles dynamos Hingis and Mirza ended.  In singles at the same tournament, Garbine Muguruza failed to clear her quarter final hurdle and so there will be at least one unseeded finalist in Doha.

Nick Kyrgios defeated Tomas Berdych for the second week in a row and also in Dubai unseeded Marcos Baghdatis dumped the 4th seed Roberto Bautista Agut, leaving Stan Wawrinka as the sole seed left in the semis.

I am ready to give up predicting anything anymore !


All the slaps on the back that Nick Kyrgios received after his Marseille breakthrough must have been a little too much as he was forced to retire with a broken back (maybe a little less serious) from his semi final match with Stan Wawrinka in Dubai. Hopefully it will be a short recovery and he will be able to fulfil his Davis Cup duties.  
There was some good to come out of the match - down 1-4 and two breaks in the first set, Nick fought back to 4-4 before the injury took its toll and he relented 4-6 0-3.  Wawrinka faces a rejuvenated Marcos Baghdatis in the final following his victory over Lopez.

Better news on the Tomic front as Bernie recovered from a poor opening set against Alexandr Dolgopolov in an Acapulco semi to eventually dominate 1-6 6-4 6-3.  Maybe it will be two titles in as many weeks for Australia ?

Meanwhile Aga Radwanska's consistent form came to an abrupt conclusion thanks to Carla Suarez Navarro in Doha with the Spanish number two handing her a thrashing 6-2 6-0.  The final will see Carla facing 18 year old Latvian surprise packet Jelena Ostapenko who won the first set against Andrea Petkovic before the German retired, a reason for match conclusions far too common at the moment.

Jelena is one to watch - her wins in Doha in addition to Petkovic include Kvitova, Kuznetsova (both dual GS winners) and Zheng (who had knocked out Kerber).

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

WTA - everyone's a winner !

What is happening on the WTA Tour ? Results are all over the place.  Consistency is not being allowed.  
The St Petersburg winner Roberta Vinci and runner up Belinda Bencic were both first round losers in the next tournament in Dubai.

Dubai winner Sara Errani and runner up Barbora Strycova did marginally better in their next event currently occurring in Doha, but said their goodbyes in the second round there.
Just to add to the mess Aus Open champ Angie Kerber, playing her first tour match since her Serena success, lost in Doha to Elena Vesnina, Elina's first win over a top ten player since 2013.

Simona Halep is also having a disastrous start to 2016, gone again in the opening match, repeating her Melbourne effort.
At least Garbine Muguruza and Petra Kvitova won, so a few top ten players may feature in the Doha finale with an ounce of luck.

Not sure what to make of 2016 for the girls, but it is surely unpredictable and giving a number of players chances previously unlikely. The stability of Serena, Vika and Maria appears to be missing just for the moment and things may settle with their return.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Kyrgios wins first ATP title

Well Nick Kyrgios broke through in Marseille to win his maiden ATP title disposing of world number 12 and 2014 US Open Champ Marin Cilic 6-2 7-6. 

 A high quality serving match saw Kyrgios just too strong in all departments, serving 16 aces and hitting 36 winners, many simply breathtaking, with just 12 unforced errors.  He faced just one break point, while piling on pressure whenever Cilic was at the line.  This was especially so at the start of the match with the first two Croatian service games. where a multitude of break points were created by the smart returning and damaging groundstrokes of the Australian.  To Cilic's credit he saved all of them to hold his opening serve, and appeared headed that way again in the third (Kyrgios had levelled with a love game in a matter of seconds! but the ninth break point was decisive and with its conversion by Nick the set was basically over.

Another break of serve at 2-4 gave the Aussie the opportunity to serve with insurance for the set and he had no difficulty sealing  it.  Throughout he showed a maturity and sporting approach far different from some of his 2015 lowlights.  Always free to congratulate Cilic on a great shot, this was refreshing to experience.

The debut victory wasn't just some minor tournament with none of the big names present. 
This required Nick to dismiss the 2, 3 and 4 seeds to claim the trophy.  Each of those was either a current or previous top ten player, and no one should be foolish to deny the likelihood of Kyrgios ending up in that elite company sooner rather than later.  

This week will move him from 41 back to the low 30s.  Watch out USA in the upcoming Davis Cup tie.  Australia is ready to fire.  Yes Tomic will need to lift himself from a curious lapse in form but hard to see Kyrgios dropping a singles rubber at Kooyong given his appetite at the moment.